Tuesday, April 30, 2013

From Inspiration to Action


I often marvel at what an amazing historical period we're living in. Any time I have the inkling of an idea, I can google it and read all about how it's already been implemented at least 25 times with step-by-step tutorials and can then pin images left and right to remind myself of the project I want to undertake.

But while having that kind of technology at our fingertips makes it easier to undertake new projects, it simultaneously provides a whole new level of procrastination--"productive procrastination," if you will. It's so easy to feel like all that reading and pinning is productive work, but really, at the end of the day, I'm still sitting on my butt in front of the computer.

Case in point: I just spent a whole 30 minutes scrolling through Kylie's blog. I am in complete and utter awe of the experiences she provides for her children on a daily basis. 

But I don't want to stop there. I want to figure out exactly what it is about Kylie's parenting that I want to replicate and identify ways to get off my butt and make it happen. 

So what exactly left me feeling inspired? I love the way Kylie creates a truly comprehensive Montessori experience for her children at home--everything from the beauty of the environment to the rotation of stimulating activities to excursions into nature to baking to other practical life activities.

How can I follow her lead and create more of a Montessori experience in our home?
  1. Make sure I click over to her Activity/Photo of the Day feature every time I read a regular blog post of hers. There's so much inspiration in there! As a side note, Kylie, how do you feel about posting that content in the main section of your blog so that no one misses anything? Pretty please?
  2. Read through the archives of her blog and make a list of things I want to do each month. Although Otis and Henry are the same age (so convenient!), Caspar is three years older and my new baby will be two years younger. Making a list of various activities/experiences at different ages will be very helpful for me. As I read new blog posts, I can continue to add ideas to the list.
  3. I can start writing one post a week about what we're doing in our Montessori home. Documenting and sharing our experiences might be the inspiration I need to do even more.



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7 comments:

E. said...

Inspiration is great, but there is a point where instead of gathering it, you are better off just doing your own thing, rather than constantly worrying about other people and what they're doing. I'm constantly pinning pictures of beautiful quilts I want to make, and then lamenting the fact that I never have time to quilt. It seems like you are stretched pretty thin these days - I think it's great to draw inspiration when you need it, but please don't put so much pressure on yourself to be as Montessori as possible - I know the philosophy resonates with you a lot, but you also talk a lot about being your most authentic self - when can be hard to do when you go on an inspiration bender.

E. said...

(I'm sorry if my comment sounded harsh, I just see you putting a lot of pressure on yourself and like they say, comparison is the thief of joy, or something like that.)

Kylie D'Alton said...

I can't believe you wrote this about my blog? Knowing what to do when, comes more naturally with the second - I promise. Remember Henry attends a Montessori community everyday whereas Otis is at home. Henry is getting SO much enrichment from school. I'd love to read a weekly post about Montessori in your home!

Laura said...

Yes! Please do post about the Montessori activities you do at home! I would love to read that! My daughter is about 7 mos younger than Henry and Otis and I regularly read the how we Montessori archives for age-appropriate activity ideas.

Sara E. Cotner said...

Hi, E.! I didn't mean to make it sound like I feel pressured to be more Montessori at home; I really do feel inspired and excited by the prospect. For me, striving and pushing myself to improve brings me joy. I try to make sure I stop and celebrate everything I'm already doing, but I also very much enjoy the feeling of forward momentum.

Annalisa said...

Sara -- First, I think this post contradicts where you were heading. Your "goals" involve more clicking and sitting. It seemed like you wanted to be more action oriented but I'm not sure your path will lead you there.

Second, I've commented in the past and I truly do not understand your constant drive for all things Montessori. I've read the books, blogs, etc. and while I do some things intuitively, I do not purposefully parent montessori style. Seeing how you and other bloggers comment on what their kid(s) do, my kid does the same thing. I think as any intentional parent, your kid will be "successful" because you care. I just choose to save my money instead of researching the most-handmade-locally sourced-simplified-piece-of-wood toy that costs $65 while it's BPA free plastic counterpart is $8. Same effect. Rather than research the super montessori toys, I am playing with my babies (perhaps unknowingly montessori style!) and letting them do independent things, naturally. I don't need much internet inspiration to realize my 2 year old wants to pour her own milk in her cereal, put her own pants on, or even push her toys around in a box. I guess my point is -- I wish you had some (even personal) evidence that Montessori has made you or others much better off than your peers. I would really respect this from you since you are working on starting a school. I would want someone who can be holistic about education and not so dogmatic about their beliefs running any institution my child would attend.


Sara E. Cotner said...

Hi, Annalisa: I'm glad you're parenting in a way that you feel good about. That's the best any of us can hope for!

In our family, we love the Montessori approach. Many components of Montessori are basic and simple (and overlap with intuition or even other parenting styles). When I talk about parenting in a "Montessori way" by cultivating independence, for example, I don't mean to sound like I think Montessorians are the only ones who help cultivate independence.

I love Montessori because it provides a comprehensive and cohesive approach to nurturing children. Not every single thing we do with Henry is aligned with Montessori, but, in general, the philosophy makes so much sense to us. I agree with the Montessori recommendation to purchase objects made out of natural materials rather than plastic because I think they are more beautiful and interesting to touch, and I agree with the idea that children are absorbing their environment, especially when they are young. Those objects don't have to be expensive; they can be from the Goodwill. Just yesterday, I wrote about how we are implementing Montessori with a $20 restaurant high chair off of Craigslist.

I can't make any sort of argument to you that Montessori is making Henry "better" than his peers. That's not even the goal. We follow the tenets of Montessori as much as we can because they resonate with us, we feel good about ourselves as parents when we implement them, and we are thrilled with what a sweet boy Henry is. Why would we not keep following the Montessori method? I don't mean to come across as "dogmatic." I'm just really excited about it and I want to share it with others.

As for starting a Montessori school, the point is to give families more choice about their child's education. If you don't think Montessori is holistic enough, then you wouldn't have to send your child to the school. I'm just trying to create an option for those of us who do want to send our children to Montessori school but don't want to (or can't) spend $20,000+ a year to send two children through K-12 education.

I feel very fortunate that I can choose to learn about and implement Montessori, just like you can choose not to. Each of us has to figure out what makes sense to us and follow our authentic paths.

Wishing you the best,

s.

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